BACKGROUND: Ontario Gender Wage Gap
As women are equal to men in understanding and ability, it follows that the average woman’s wage and the average man’s wage in Ontario, Canada and around the world, should also be equal. Sadly this is not the case and women in Ontario have continued to earn, on average, 28% less than men. This translates to Ontario’s women working until April 9, of the subsequent year to earn what men have earned by the end of the current year. It also results in women in Ontario working 13 years longer than men in Ontario to retire with the same income. Shockingly, these numbers have recently worsened according to the most recent Stats Canada survey.
Ontario Pay Equity Act, 1987
General Information comparing the Quebec and Ontario Pay Equity Acts
The Quebec PEA was passed in 1996, modelled on the Ontario PEA passed in 1987. The Quebec Act implemented amendments in 2006/7 and again in 2009. The Ontario Act was reviewed and recommendations made but no significant changes have been made to the Act.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act AODA, 2005 – a model for good legislation
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act AODA was passed in 2005 with an addition of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations ISAR in 2011. This comprehensive legislation utilizes the Ontario Human rights Code, and the Employment Standards Act. The AODA and its subsequent Regulations were enacted out of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act of 2001. The AODA encompasses the creation of, among other things, a training and reporting structure for employers. The Act introduces a plan for Ontario businesses to become fully accessible and compliant by 2025. The training covers information from the Canadian Bill of Rights 1960, Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982, Ontario Human Rights code 1962, Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act AODA 2005, Racial Discrimination Act 1944, Fair Employment Practices 1951, and the Fair Accommodation Practices Act 1954.
The AODA is an example of effective legislation which has been built on previous legislation with a goal of realizing a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. This model for legislation is comprehensive and should be used as a template to enact a successful legislation to close the Gender Pay Gap in Ontario. Revising the current Ontario Pay Equity Act and building on it, as the AODA had done with the original Ontarians with Disabilities Act, would create the training, reporting and compliance legislation missing or ineffective in the current Ontario PEA. Establishing a plan for an Ontario where the Gender Wage Gap has been eliminated by the year 2025, would enable Government and Business to successfully work towards that common goal.
As long as there is an economic inequality between men and women there will be an imbalance of power. The imbalance of power is a leading cause of many social issues, including violence against women. If Ontario can equalize the balance of power by obtaining gender economic parity and closing the gender wage gap, it will help to shift our societies’ views of women. With a more valued vision of women in our society, we will correct many of the social inequities women face every day. Our society requires a culture shift where women and the work they do is no longer undervalued.
10 Steps to Closing the Pay Gap by CCPA 1.Treat closing the gap as a human rights priority; 2. Raise awareness through annual Equal Pay Days and education; 3. Develop closing the gender pay gap plans; 4. Enforce and expand pay equity laws; 5. Implement employment equity law and policies; 6. Promote access to collective bargaining; 7. Increase the minimum wage; 8. Provide affordable and accessible child care; 9. Mainstream equity compliance into government laws and policies; 10. Mainstream equity compliance into workplaces and businesses.
Resources: Hennessy’s Index - http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/canadas-pay-gap
Statistics Canada - http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/pick-choisir?lang=eng&p2=33&id=2020102
Statistics Canada - http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labr69a-eng.htm
10 Ways to Close Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap - http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/10-ways-close-ontario%E2%80%99s-gender-pay-gap
Pay Equity Commission of Ontario - http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/about/pubs/genderwage/index.php
RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, and in particular the Minister of Labour, to review the existing Ontario Pay Equity Act and revise as needed, in particular to include:
a) regular reviews of the act with implementation of the recommendations from the reviews,
b) pay transparency through regular disclosure of incomes,
c) mandatory training and reporting by all Ontario employers
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, to set goals for closing the gender wage gap in Ontario, in particular that this issue be considered at all levels of the government in every committee and as related to all endeavours and legislation; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Business and Professional Women of Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, and in particular the Minister of Labour, to establish comprehensive legislation modeled after the structure of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, AODA, to eliminate the Gender Wage Gap by the year 2025.
©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com
Article ID: 4372